Positives of Factory Farming

Prices of meat are steadily decreasing.

Despite any person’s opinions, it is a fact that factory farming is currently the most efficient way of producing mass amounts of animal protein. The incomes of most people, especially in developing countries are on the rise, giving way to a greater need for higher efficiency systems of food output. To parallel the increased incomes of the people, meat production has also been increasing, which means lower monetary costs of animal products. Since meat is so calorie-dense, lower costs mean more people are able to fill up with copious amounts of animal products while not needing to make huge dents in their wallets. Supporters argue that factory farming is good for efficient food production and for lowering the cost of said food. These main reasons are commonplace in the arguments of factory farming supporters, but the main question still stands: is factory farming a problem?

There are about 322 million people in America according to the US Census, and 7.2 billion people in the entire world. The majority of people in the world, more than 98%, eat some type of animal product as their main protein source: namely chicken, fish, pork, beef, etc. Accounting for the fact that the population is exponentially growing, it’s no wonder that the agriculture industry has industrialized their processes so as to streamline farming. The average person’s income is on the rise, meaning more people are gaining access to animal food groups which would otherwise be unattainable.

An official USDA table that depicts agricultural productivity levels from 1948 to now shows the total production output of farms raised from about 53,000,000 metric tons to 142,000,000 metric tons per year. Of course, that number has increased so significantly to accommodate to the ever-rising population numbers. The amount of necessary resources can only be expected to grow, which inevitably means more animal products will be needed to satiate the largely omnivorous people of the world.

The present-day need for factory farming is no doubt defended by its supporters using facts about increased productivity brought on by said industry. Even more, the median price of meat nowadays is decreasing at a constant downward slope. According to an article in Time Magazine’s Money section,

“The average price of uncooked ground beef … appears to have peaked last February, at a price of $4.71 a pound. It has crept downward since then, dipping to $4.49 at the end of 2015 and $4.39 in January 2016. The last time prices were this cheap was August 2014.”

Needless to say, this is directly due to the rising volume of livestock owned by the big food corporations coupled with the heightened efficiency of factory farming. These lower costs are good for meat eaters since it gives them greater access to extremely calorie dense food without having to break the bank. Supporters of factory farming use the cost facts to elaborate on why it is a necessary part of our food industry. Without low cost meats, supporters often feel that most people would die of starvation if factory farming did not exist. It is simply the reason as to how McDonald’s and other fast food chains can afford to price their protein so cheaply. Even those in poverty in America can buy a burger from a fast food place with change they are given from passersby. Supporters often align their beliefs with being humanitarian in their efforts to justify the factory farming system.

McDonald’s Big Mac. Currently being sold at $3.99 each.

Supporters of factory farming believe that it is the best way for big food corporations to be able to feed millions of humans in the shortest time frame possible, even though that means the farmers are going for the biggest profit margins for themselves. The statistics add up in terms of productivity; they show that after factory farming became the main method of food production, the total amount of output dwarfs the amount of input by the farmers (or corporations) themselves. As stated before, the efficient production lines allow for high output of animal products thereby enabling a wider range of access among the world’s general population. A lower cost of animal products has also been attributed to factory farming practices, which is good for people who do eat meat since they won’t need to starve. In short, through the eyes of the industrial agriculture supporters, the answer to the question of whether or not it is a problem, is no.